A Michigan man who won $2m in a lottery in June 2010 has been found dead, floating in a river.
The Midland Police Department identified the 69-year-old man as Auburn resident Leroy Fick. He was spotted floating in the Tittabawassee River around 10.30am on 5 June.
While the cause of death has not been disclosed, law enforcement has said that Mr Fick’s death doesn’t appear to be suspicious.
Mr Fick won the Michigan lottery “Make Me Rich!” more than a decade ago. Out of his $2m winnings, he took home $998,570 after taxes. He was later featured on Lottery Changed My Life, a programme on TLC.
Mr Fick used his lottery winnings to demolish his house and build a new one in its place, he also bought a brand new Chevrolet Camaro, and large amounts of fireworks.
He later acknowledged that he was still receiving government assistance through his Bridge Card, which gave him access to “temporary food assistance for eligible low-income families and individuals... from the US Department of Agriculture”, according to the state of Michigan.
Fellow Michigander Amanda Clayton won $1 million on “Make Me Rich!” the following year, but she also continued to use her Bridge Card.
The actions of Mr Fick and Ms Clayton led state legislators to introduce a new law that required the Michigan Lottery to provide information about winners of $1,000 or more to the Department of Human Services.
The department must then perform an asset test to see if the person in question is eligible for government assistance.
The Associated Press reported that Ms Clayton died in 2012 after what appeared to be an overdose.
Mr Fick was living on a fixed income of $1,100 a month less than two years after winning the lottery, having used up most of the money.
He was sentenced to 45 days in jail for a drug offence in January 2012. In October of that year, he was sentenced to 13 to 60 months in prison after convictions of larceny of a firearm and felon in possession of a firearm, MLive reported.
“The whole thing just blew up in my face,” Mr Fick told a judge about how he lost his money. “I thought people would love me if I helped them out some. I had the wrong idea, I guess. They all turned on me and that was it.”
Bridge Michigan reported that Mr Fick’s mishandling of government assistance led to 15,000 families in Michigan with assets of more than $5,000 losing access to food stamps.
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